Why Trying So Hard Isn’t Working

I was always doing it. People pleasing and hyper-focusing on productivity to feel worthy of something. Anything. That insatiable drive to do more, be more, produce more was slowly eating away at my soul and sanity.

I was unaware of the exhaustion that enveloped my brain, body, and soul. My thoughts were always enshrouded in how to be perfect, how to please more people, how to say “Yes!” more… But no matter how often I succeeded at some of these things, I never felt fulfilled. That inner part of me was never filled, always hungry, wanting more. And the more I fed it with “busyness”, the hungrier and louder it became.

Why? Because I wasn’t living my own truth. I was living everyone else’s. 

Perfection is an unattainable concept that has poisoned our society for decades. We have lost ourselves in the noise of productivity, thinking that this is the answer to all of our problems – doing more, being more, and appearing more accomplished in order to gain the approval of others. To me, this is a desperate attempt to feel connection. But in the end, we only feel depleted, more exhausted or manic. 

So how do we break this cycle? How do we find meaningful connections without sacrificing our own truth and worthiness?

I’ve learned that it comes down to self-awareness. Knowingness. Self-regulation. The more I can be aware of this push and pull from society and people around me, and the more I can discern when I’m feeling that hyperdrive, anxious energy to be more and do more, the more I can discern, get curious, and make a conscious choice. Bringing the unconscious to consciousness opens the door for choice and empowerment. 

All of these attributes allow us to see within ourselves more clearly and differentiate what we want and what others want. This allows us to clear the noise and gives permission to rest, regulate, and reflect.

It may feel like we need to please others to feel a sense of connection to them, but the most powerful connections I have in my life are those that give me space to show up as I am. Imperfectly. Honestly. And wholeheartedly. 

To me, that is how we can break the toxic cycle of productivity and perfectionism within our own lives and within our society; showing up as your truest, most authentic self not only for others but more importantly for yourself.

Written by Kristen Gmerek